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April 23, 2008

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I once saw Johnny play at the Nightshift Cafe, a remarkable small music club in a strip mall in Naugatuck, CT. It must've been 1989 or 1990. That night he had trouble staying on the stage. He kept wandering off, mid-song, to smoke or whatever. The band was obviously used to this, but the blonde backup singer (don't know who she was) tried to keep singing and encourage him to come back, "c'mon, Johnny, come back to the stage..." Finally, he just came back up with joint in one hand, what I seem to recall was a White Russian in the other, and continued to sing. It was so pathetic, yet so amazing in some ways. He never gave up, that guy.

Will Rodgers

Thanks for the great story. I think of Johnny quite often and wonder "what if...".

Harry McLeran

I met Johnny at a now defunct Manhattan club called Spo-Dee-O-Dee, or something like that. He was hanging out with Sebastian Bach. Both of them were very nice.

MG196

I'm one of the Mods at the Chatterbox forum you mention above. Thanks for the shout-out and the story!

Will

I remember Johnny. He was some baseball player. The last time I saw him was at his sister Mayann's wedding reception at Knights of Columbus on 31st Avenue in Jackson Heights (a/k/a East Elmhurst). His mom, Maryann and his mom, Josie, lived in the basement of my family one family house. This old, retired cop who lived next door used promise t Richie Flynn, a kid from down the block "to beat up the ginnie [Johnny]." I think Johnny polished him off everytime, and Flynn never got any dollars. The last time I saw Johnny at his sister's wedding reception at the K of C in queens, he had a stratocaster and was going play for the reception. I don't remember what happened after that. I may have split. Johnny died in '91 and so did my very good friend songwriter Doc Pomus. Funny, Johnny performed and recorded several of Doc's songs ("Seven Day Weedend"; "Little Sister"...). Doc also died in '91. Funny, huh?

Will

Redux:
I remember Johnny. He was some baseball player. He was a good kid, two years older than me. But I think he was also a bit of a sad kid. At least my mom and dad used to feel bad for him. The last time I saw him was at his sister Mayann's wedding reception at the Knights of Columbus on 31st Avenue in Jackson Heights (a/k/a East Elmhurst). His mom Josie, Maryann and he lived in the basement of my family's one family house. This old, retired cop who lived next door used to promise Richie Flynn, a kid from down the block, a dollar "to beat up the ginnie [Johnny]." I think Johnny polished him off everytime, and Flynn never got any dollars. The last time I saw Johnny at his sister's wedding reception at the K of C in queens, he had a stratocaster and was preparing to play for the reception. He had on a sharkskin suit. I don't remember what happened after that. I may have split. Johnny died in '91 and so did my very good friend, songwriter Doc Pomus. Funny, Johnny performed and recorded several of Doc's songs ("Seven Day Weedend"; "Little Sister"...). I understand that Willy DeVille, one of Doc's writing partners found Johnny's body in N.O. Doc also died in '91. Funny, huh?

Scott Eric Rebrook

I live in West Virginia , far far from the big NYC. I was 15 when I picked up the NY Dolls first album (on 8 track tape)
It really was a big musical influence. Just wanted everybody to
know us West Virginians appreciate Johnny Thunders. Oh well

Cheryl McBee

I remember Johnny from the UK Club around '79 and '80; an after - after hours club on 13th and 3rd in New York. It seemed like we talked all the time there.
I didn't know who he was so he said "I'm the greatest f...ing rock and roll guitar player in the world". He said that to me all the time.
He talked about dying all the time too though. We both did to be fair. And although NOW I know who is; to me, he was someone who was sensitive, brilliant, at times and funny.
We used to sit together sometimes not saying anything at all.
He was a human being; and a good one. Better than most.

Ron G.

I was at that show in Hillside, NJ. I was standing at the bar before the show started and turning to my right there's Johnny looking up at me (and I'm only 5'6"), wasted, as one of his posse demanded 'Johnny, what do you want to drink?'. I also remember that the cops showed up and the show was cut short as Johnny announced from the stage 'The piggos are outside!' Still the best show that I ever saw there. Remember Studio 10 on Bleecker St. down the street from CBs? We saw him there one night with Joy Ryder on stage with him. It was a kooky place, really.

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